June 14 (UPI) — An Atlanta police officer who fatally shot a black man outside a Wendy’s has been terminated and another officer placed on administrative leave, the department announced early Sunday.
Hours earlier on Saturday night, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned in fallout from the killing of Rayshard Brooks, 27, around 10:30 p.m. Friday. Later Saturday, the restaurant was engulfed in flames as protesters shut down all lanes of the southbound downtown connector at University Avenue.
Garrett Rolfe, who shot Brooks and had been with the department since October 2013, his been fired, Atlanta Police Spokesman Carlos Campos confirmed to WSB and WXIA-TV. The other officer on the scene, Devin Bronsan, who joined the department in September 2018, has been placed on administrative duty.
The roles of the officers during the incident were not given by the department.
Video released Saturday afternoon by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation appears to show Brooks taking a Taser from an officer, running from police and then firing it at them before an officer shot at him.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had recommended the firing of the officer that killed Brooks.
“While there may be a debate about whether this was an appropriate use of deadly force, I firmly believe there is a clear distinction between what you can do and what you should do,” Bottoms said .
She also accepted Shields’ resignation.
“Out of a deep and abiding love for this City and this department, I offered to step aside as police chief. APD has my full support, and Mayor Bottoms has my support on the future direction of this department,” Shields said in a statement released Saturday night.
According to Bottoms, Shields will remain with the department and assistant chief Rodney Bryant will become the interim chief while the city searches for a replacement.
On Friday night, officers responded to reports a man was asleep at the wheel in the Wendy’s drive-thru. Brooks failed a field sobriety test and when officers tried to take Brooks into custody, there was a struggle. Ultimately, he was shot.
Brooks died at Grady Memorial Hospital where he later died, according to the GBI.
“Y’all took him away from his wife and kids,” a protester told WSB-TV. “That boy wasn’t breaking no crime. He went to get something to eat and fell asleep.”
Another protester said: “I thought Atlanta was higher than that. I thought we was bigger than that. I just want to make enough noise that they investigate the situation.”
Besides setting the Wendy’s on fire, looters also raided a convenience store early Sunday.
Before 2 a.m., police told protesters they must leave the area. A high frequency sound was used to drive off the few people left in the intersection.
This is the third weekend of demonstrations calling from police reform amid excessive force by police. On May 25, George Floyd died when Minneapolis officer officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin was subsequently fired and charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers on the scene also lost their jobs and face felony charges.
At least 36 people were arrested in conjunction with the unrest, an Atlanta Police spokesman told CNN.